Veronika Saxena, Enterprise Architecture

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Knowledge Keeper - Leader/Innovator
Manager, Enterprise Architecture Governance, Canadian Tire Corporation

"In high school, I wasn’t interested in IT because I thought it meant becoming a programmer or network specialist. Then I realized that tech is everywhere – and now I manage a team of tech people!"

A really cool project our team worked on recently was to design a tool that creates interactive diagrams that help less technical colleagues with IT planning.

Veronika’s CareerMash

I work with the business people to create “roadmaps” or plans for what Canadian Tire wants to accomplish in the next 2-3 years and then figure out the technologies to reach these goals. In the tech world, innovation is key so I use creative thinking to complete tasks and initiatives. There’s a lot of freedom to come up with ideas and brainstorm with talented colleagues.

Snapshot

My job is to create and manage the processes that make sure what Canadian Tire does in tech advances our business goals. I manage the enterprise architecture (EA) governance team. EA works with various areas of the company to document the entire business as it is now and where we want it to be in the future. By comparing the differences, we help each area of the business figure out what needs to be done to reach its goals. I also manage a catalogue of the applications and technologies used at our stores and corporate offices across Canada. And we encourage the use of industry standards and best practices across the whole company.

A day in the life

The content of my job is fascinating and each day feels different. Working in retail is about finding ways to make shopping better. As a manager, I like to keep my door open to support team members. I am fortunate to manage an amazing team of skilled individuals. Together, we share ideas and inspiration to tackle whatever challenges come our way.

Roadmap

  • Sheridan College – Computer Programmer Diploma
  • University of Guelph – Honours Bachelor of Applied Computing
  • Humber College - Advanced Diploma in Wireless and Telecommunications Technology

Speed Bumps

  • Since part of our work in enterprise architecture is to encourage use of industry standards, sometimes we are thought of as the “IT Police”.
  • Enterprise architecture is very misunderstood because it is new so not everyone gets what we do. Some people think we sit behind a desk all day programming or doing other very technical work. In fact I work with people and processes.

Why this job rocks

  • It is cool to work at one of Canada’s most iconic businesses and know that my work contributes to the daily lives of Canadians.
  • The opportunities to learn are endless! I love being able to use my previous academic and work knowledge in a professional environment that also allows me to learn and innovate on a daily basis. I get to regularly attend conferences about new ideas like the business side of social media.
  • I collaborate with gifted people from all over the organization so it is very social.
  • I get to mash up my technical skills with my “soft” skills by connecting with other people and making presentations.

Tips for success

  • Get hands-on experience through work placements whenever possible. These experiences allow you to apply what you learn in school to real-life situations. They help you find out what you like and what you don’t like.
  • Don’t go by job title alone. Dig a little deeper or you might just miss your dream job!
  • Explore all options: When I was a high school student, I thought tech work meant becoming a programmer or network specialist and neither interested me. Later on I saw that technology is vital to all industries. A career in IT and business offers so many opportunities today. It is really important that you explore all your options in the field before closing any doors.
  • Mix it up. Technical skills are an asset in this but knowing how to use them when working with clients and others in business is also crucial.
  • Stay current: Keep up with technology trends across different fields.